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Here’s a state-by-state rundown of today’s competitive primaries and runoffs in six states.
Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (R) late retirement announcement created an abridged and chaotic primary on the GOP side.
Former state Senate President Rick Bennett, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers are the top-tier candidates. Poliquin might have the edge because he has been on television and was able to self-fund the campaign while his opponents have lagged in fundraising.
On the Democratic side, state Sen. Cynthia Dill has courted the progressive vote as former Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap has focused on the mostly rural, northern 2nd district.
Turnout is expected to be light today, adding to the unpredictably of both contests.
Both candidates who emerge as the party nominees will begin the general election as underdogs.
Former Gov. Angus King is running as an Independent and is currently favored to succeed Snowe.
George Allen, the former governor and Senator, is expected to win the Republican primary against three lesser-known opponents: tea party leader Jamie Radtke, state Del. Bob Marshall and minister E.W. Jackson. The question is what percentage Allen will get. His campaign launched a two-week tour of the state, which included Virginia’s top GOP surrogates, to increase voter turnout and “send a message” to former Gov. Tim Kaine (D), his general election opponent.
Anything below 60 percent could be spun by the Kaine campaign as a GOP base unenthusiastic about another Allen term in the Senate. But in reality, the Kaine-Allen race is expected to be a hotly contested tossup through Election Day, regardless of today’s results.
Polls open: 7 p.m. to 7 p.m. PST
Republicans are holding out hope they can beat state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D) in November in this new district, despite its Democratic tilt. Nine candidates are running in the GOP primary today.
With no other major race on the ballot and turnout projected to be low, it’s difficult to handicap the race. 2010 Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian, state Sen. Barbara Cegavske and wealthy businessman Dan Schwartz, who’s been on TV the most, are the favorites and are all in the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program.